Consumers are being warned that while new computers, tablets and other devices are covered by shops’ guarantees and “care plans”, but any data stored on them is not.
This omission is an increasing problem where customers’ data is more valuable than the device itself - or where the cost of recovering that data is disproportionately high. Consumer experts are calling on shops selling laptops, tablets and other items to either extend their guarantees to include data retrieval - or to make it clearer to the public that these losses aren’t covered.
Josh Collins, 26, discovered the “guarantee gap” when his £300 laptop failed ten months after its purchase from PC World. The laptop was covered under the chain’s care plan, but although PC World replaced the hard drive, it refused to recover Mr Collins’s data, including six years of family photos that he had moved across from his previous computer.
PC World said the data might be retrievable, but a fee of £300 would apply for an “advanced recovery service.” Mr Collins, an engineer from Lancashire, said: “I’ve never had a computer just go like that – one minute it was working and then it was gone.” He said: “PC World sold this hard drive and unfortunately, it turned out to be unfit for purpose.” PC World claimed its only duty was to replace the hard drive, not the lost data.
The retailer refused to back down, but eventually offered Mr Collins £150 goodwill towards the £300 advanced recovery service which he refused.
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From the initial telephone conversation I had with them I was extremely impressed by their implicit understanding and sensitive handling of my stress and panic, believing I had possibly lost 10 year’s worth of invaluable documentation, imagery and archiving from my highly respected research held on a USB stick.
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